Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine is a creative retelling of Cinderella. As a baby, Ella was cursed by a fairy to obey any orders that were given to her, no matter what they were. So when her mother dies and her father remarries, Ella must live with her stepsisters, Hattie and Olive. Quickly, Hattie discovers that Ella will obey her and uses that knowledge to her advantage. Instead of being treated as an equal, Ella is forced to be her stepfamily's servant.

Ella meets Prince Char. Together, they have exciting adventures. Slowly, they fall in love, but she knows that if she marries him, an enemy of the throne could command her to do something awful to him. She struggles to protect him and break the curse, but it seems impossible with such a burden as hers. Will she ever gain the freedom required to be with her true love?


Picture Books with Morals

I made a list today of some of our favorite picture books that teach morals, so I figured I might as well share it here, too.


The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss
Chicken Big by Graves

Being Happy with what You Have:

Old Hat New Hat by the Berenstains


Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt
The Woods by Paul Hoppe
The Pout Pout Fish in the Big Big Dark by Diesen


Fanny by Holly Hobbie
Not a Box by Portis
A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle
Go to Bed, Monster by Wing


Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend by Melanie Watt
Otis and Sydney and the Best Birthday Ever by Numeroff
A Visitor for Bear (and the rest of the series) by Bonnie Becker
You Will Be My Friend by Peter Brown
Fox Makes Friends by Adam Relf
Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson
Enemy Pie by Munson


Strega Nona by dePaola

Positive Attitude:

Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard
Miss Rumphius by Cooney
The Pout Pout Fish by Diesen


Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Fleming

Reading and Writing:

Henry and the Crazed Chicken Pirates by Crimi
Library Lion by Knudsen
More Bears by Nesbitt
Calvin Can't Fly by Berne
Max's Words by Banks
Interrupting Chicken by Stein


Little Blue Truck by Schertle
Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Spinelli

Sibling Relationships:

Max and Ruby series
Flora and the Very Windy Day by Birdsall
A Birthday for Frances by Hoban

The Tales of the Frog Princess by E.D. Baker

The 7 amazing tales of the frog princess are a series about a young princess named Emeralda. But everyone calls her Emma. Emma has a flair of magic inside her. These tales starring Emma are a very unique series. They are full of wonderful magic, romance, friendship, and everything amazing to you. Emma is a young princess in love with a funny, but serious prince with a huge appetite...Prince Eadric has a wonderful character like his love, Princess Emeralda. Emma makes lots of animal friends along the way, including a bat named Li'l. She also makes friends with a few mermaids, Pearl and her friends. A dragon named Ralf and his old grandfather are also befriended by the remarkable pair. These enchanting books will make you believe you are with Emma and her Prince Eadric, just as they have done for me. Emma discovers she is a witch. This makes the books a wonderful set of stories with Emma doing all kinds of magic experiments that will get you tangled up in this series whipped up by a wonderful author, E.D. Baker. Emma and her betrothed Prince Eadric fight all kinds of scary monsters and a few dragons together. But however hard Emma tries, it seems that she and Eadric will never marry. Finally, they get married. But wait...You're not done with the series, yet, they only get married at book three. Read this amazing series.           

Report by a 7 year old girl, who is choosing not to be named.   :)     

Free Time for Homeschoolers

When people ask me how much time I spend homeschooling, it's hard to answer. Do you include family work? Do you want me to count music practice? What about time spent reading?

And what about free time? At first, I'm sure you'd say no, but free time is actually something I'm pretty passionate about. Kids need time to just play, create, explore, and be kids.

Today, for example, I was doing some dishes after lunch. Usually, I recruit help from all my little eaters, but I looked around and decided not to disrupt them.

Bubs was at the piano, picking out the Star Wars theme song by ear.

Welly was writing a retelling of Cinderella.

Why-Why was actually vacuuming for me.

OK...so I did ask Why to vacuum, but Bubs and Welly were using their free time for great creative pursuits that they chose to do.

There's so much power in choice, isn't there? When we choose to play an instrument, write a story, or whatever else we may choose to do, don't you think we get so much more out of it than if we were just fulfilling an assignment?

The Cat of Bubastes by G. A. Henty

We read The Cat of Bubastes by G. A. Henty as part of Family School.

I've heard many homeschoolers recommend G. A. Henty's books, because they are well-researched historical novels. This was our first experience reading one.

The Cat of Bubastes takes place in Ancient Egypt in about 1200 BC.

Amuba is the prince of the Rebu, when Egypt comes and conquers his people. His father dies in battle, and his mother poisons herself in her despair. Amuba is taken to Egypt as a slave, where he serves a kind master, Ameres, the High Priest of Osiris.

In Egypt, he becomes friends with Chebron, the boy he is assigned to serve. When Chebron accidentally kills the sacred cat of Bubastes, the boys are forced to flee.

This story is full of adventure, morals, a tiny bit of romance, and intrigue.

This book made an entertaining read-aloud, but I think kids would have a hard time getting through it on their own. Bubs (9) and Welly (7) really enjoyed it, but one chapter per day was enough. Wy (4) sometimes felt like a chapter was more than he could handle.

We learned a lot from this book...a lot about Ancient Egyptian culture. It's also a fabulous coming-of-age type story.

Happy Mother's Day!

I have the most wonderful mother on Earth. Love her!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you!

Our Current Reading

I'm usually a One-Book-at-a-Time kinda girl, but at the moment I'm all over the place.

As much of a reader as I've been over the last decade, I feel like my eyes are just beginning to open, and I feel this thirst for more knowledge...and it feels good.

Right now, I'm making my way through...

Non-LDS Books

The Cat of Bubastes by G. A. Henty-There's so much to learn from his historical fiction. Wow! Makes a great read-aloud. Long at times, I admit, but it's quite the adventure. We're all enjoying it.

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo-So great when I read it, but I find myself drawn to other books first.

LDS Books

10 Critical Keys for Highly Effective Mormon Families by William Dyer and Philip Kunz-Interesting look at what successful families do.

The Infinite Atonement by Tad R. Callister-Beautiful. Great insights.

The Temple Experience by Wendy Ulrich-Haven't read much yet, but I'm hoping that it will help me get more out of my temple experiences.

And while I'm at it....

Bubs is reading:

Welly is reading:

That's it at the moment. What are you reading?